Debate surrounding the world economic crisis

November 14, 2008

World leaders vowed to work together in overhauling the global financial system as they headed to Washington for a summit on wresting the global economy from recession and avoiding future meltdowns.

Far from the confines of Washington, Reuters readers launched into a lively debate, sparked by Reuters columnists and experts, on what this means for the global financial crisis.

One of the more lively discussions arose from a column theorizing the financial crisis is the greatest threat to international security. Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University and Global Security Consultant to Oxford Research Group argues:

Unless global responses are made to the current economic crisis, the biggest threat to international security will be the impoverishment of hundreds of millions of people, leading to radical and violent social movements that will be met with force, resulting in still greater conflict.

Reader Jonathan Cole contends:

When the “me” impulse overcomes the “we” impulse to the point that it creates a dysfunctional, unjust concentration of wealth and comfort in the hands of a minority, while consigning the rest to poverty, bad health, and early death, it is only a matter of time before the anger bubbles up from the masses.

Reader James Harris counters:

Maybe it is time for better thinking and not these emotional reactions, that are ultimately an innate desire for finger pointing at U.S. Leadership in causing the financial crisis.

While reader Michael Anderson comments:

I think it would be very beneficial if we had leadership which could promote a mindset whereby we didn’t think of it as us versus them. When underdeveloped nations begin sharing in the wealth to a larger degree we all win.

“Move over America! Make space Europe!”

Reuters columnist Paul Taylor writes that this summit of 20 nations sets a precedent for a new international order. Emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico are invited to share responsibility for the economic fate of the planet with the established Group of Eight industrialized nations.

No longer mere appendages invited for lunch at the end of the annual G8 summit, the rising powers are in demand because they have either mountains of cash, vital natural resources, fast-growing economies or regional security responsibilities.

Reader RC comments:

India constitutes around 17% of the world population whereas the whole of Europe constitutes only around 5% of the world population. Europe have 3 permanent UN security council members with veto power, which India does not have. What kind of democratic world is this?

“Risk-taking is the engine of economic innovation”

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor puts forth the argument that the U.S. won’t stomach a new Bretton Woods. She writes:

Whatever the wisdom of more far-reaching international financial regulations, many Americans don’t want binding rules administered by a bureaucracy unaccountable to the public. They prefer to do the job themselves. They want sovereignty over their own affairs, and are suspicious of international organizations.

What are your thoughts on the issues world leaders face as they tackle the financial crisis?

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